A couple of days ago I stepped on a shard of glass sharp enough to penetrate the bottom of my shoe. It felt like it came but a millimeter away from stabbing the bottom of my foot but I managed to stop my forward motion, preventing that from certainly happening.
I was on 34th Avenue near Crescent Street, where I found a place to sit down at the Queensview buildings and extract the shard from the shoe. I tossed it into some bushes, where no one else could step on it, then went about my busy day, thinking That could have been really bad.
About a minute later, en route to 21st Street, I took my right hand out of a coat pocket, finding all my fingers and most of the palm covered with blood. I had cut myself on the shard without noticing or feeling anything. The red stuff just pumped out of the tip of my index finger. The cut did not look very big, but man oh man the blood came out fast and strong.
It seemed to have started slowing down when I reached the Punjab Auto Repair shop on 21st Street near 33rd Road. I showed my bloody hand to one of the mechanics there, asking if they had a sink I could use to rinse it.
He promptly ushered me in and next thing I knew the dudes at this auto body shop were taking care of me like I’d just entered an emergency room or an urgent care center.
They tried to calm me down, with one guy telling me I should be running cold water over the cut, not warm. I knew that, but was freaked out enough to not fully have my wits about me.
One of them handed me a wad of paper towels which I wrapped around the finger, quickly soaking it with blood but also helping to slow the bleeding.
One of them came up with a couple of small bandages, which I had trouble unwrapping as I lacked full use of both hands. So he unwrapped it for me and placed it over the cut.
I said “Thank you, doctor!” Everyone laughed.
The bandages did not fully seal the deal, so to speak, but it was enough of a blockage for me to get home and fully rinse, disinfect, and wrap it in bigger bandages. That’s what really worked to stop the blood. I went through several sets of multiple bandage applications soaked in blood before the bleeding finally stopped.
I got a tetanus shot at the Rite Aid and sprayed Bactine on the finger several times before affixing yet more bandages. Fortunately I had a good quantity on hand. Affixing regular bandages to cover a fingertip cut is, for me at least, hard to do.
Today, two days later, the cut is still there but I heal quickly, and don’t expect any further trouble. I’m going to let it breathe tonight, sleeping bandageless.
But the dudes at what I now call the Punjab Emergency Room were awesome. I have no business to bring to them, since I no longer own a car, but I might consider writing a Yelp review recounting this little incident, just so folks know about another side to these guys beyond their car skills.
They would have taken care of me regardless but it didn’t hurt that they recognized me. I walk past this place many times a week and, as I said to them upon leaving, “I always wondered what this place looked like inside.”
Indeed, if I had the wherewithal I would have snuck in some pictures of the interior, which was a hoary, ramshackle bit of old New York, like out of a Scorsese film.
And this being me, even as the blood still pumped out of my finger, I looked around the place thinking there might be a payphone within. I did not see one and felt it appropriate to dilly-dally around on that account when I obviously had a more important issue to deal with.
I remembered how Murray Perahia’s concert career was put on hold for some 10 years on account of what amounted to nothing more than a papercut. I don’t have a concert career to worry about at the moment but fingertip bandages do make playing piano, and typing these words, a bit more of a challenge.
While I have no informed opinion about Punjab’s auto repair acumen I can say from experience that I have always appreciated how vigilant they are in keeping their eyes open for pedestrians as they move the cars in and out of their shop. Maybe that’ll be in my Yelp review.
I can’t help think how different things might have turned out if something like this happened the day before, when I was up in the Bronx and Harlem, areas I sortakinda know but not well enough to navigate in a mode of near panic.
The only lingering concern is that, by necessity, I found myself in an enclosed space with three or four men, all wearing facemasks but still… And the one who applied the bandage made epidermal contact. I have not been Covid tested in a few months and had been thinking I should get tested again anyway. I’ll try and get that done by week’s end.